April 23, 2013

Joseph P. Yeldell was everything that the April 19 obituary “Major figure in D.C. government, politics for 3 decades” related, but left unmentioned was one of his most significant contributions to the District. The year 1990 will undeniably be recorded as one of the District’s bleakest periods since the attainment of home rule. In that time of municipal crisis, with the mayor severely impaired and distracted, dysfunction and malaise leached from the Wilson Building to all corners of the city government. Its agencies and essential services, already corroded, could easily have crumbled into ever greater disarray and ineffectiveness. The main reason they did not was Mr. Yeldell and the veteran, steady hand he provided to then-City Administrator Carol B. Thompson, which was also reassuring to the legions of city workers who had come to know him.

W. Shaun Pharr, Washington

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